Page 165 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 48

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HESSEL / TEXTBOOKS IN JEWISH EDUCATION
157
vide the knowledge and unders tand ing o f o u r tradition in the
traditional, time-honored format.
In spite o f various new inventions and gimmicks, the text
continues to be the primary teaching tool for learners o f all
ages. T h e excitement o f the distractions notwithstanding, the
textbook is still looked upon as the medium for transm itting
knowledge.
Textbooks rep resen t stability and tradition, while the sacred
books remain the source and provide the th read o f continuity
from generation to generation. The civil rights movement and
counter-culture revolution o f the sixties affected deeply the so­
cial, civic and ideological fibers o f society. However, the new
concepts which emerged in their wake did not appear in the
schoolbooks until the seventies. Alternatives in Religious Edu ­
cation, a Jewish publishing house which was on the leading edge
o f change, released
The Jewish Values Game
(1976), addressing
the value conflicts facing contemporary Jews.
Moral Development:
A Practical Guide for Teachers
(1983) provides ano ther example.
It focused on moral norms, such as punishment, tru th and law,
which were highly charged terms at the time, and posed d i­
lemmas for students to solve based on their own moral devel­
opm ent and knowledge o f Jewish texts. KTAV Publishers re ­
leased
The Jewish Experiential Book
(1979), which stressed the
need o f getting in touch with one’s Jewish identity.
To Do Justly:
A Junior Casebook for Social Action
(1969), ano ther timely title
published by the Union o f American Hebrew Congregations,
was based on heightening the awareness o f one’s values and
ethics th rough social action. T o rah Umesorah, an educational
organization serving O rthodox day schools, produced a text­
book, complete with teacher’s guide and moral sensitivity tra in ­
ing program , that stressed the moral behavior pattern o f great
Jewish scholars.
In 1972, the Jewish Publication Society released the first o f
a series o f best sellers which were an outgrowth o f the tu rbu len t
decade.
The Jewish Catalog
is an attractively packaged “compen­
dium o f tools and total resources for use in Jewish living and
total participation in the Jewish way o f life,”3 reflecting creative
approaches explored in the sixties.
3. Siegel, Richard, Strassfield, Michael and Strassfield, Sharon,
The First Jewish
Catalog,
Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, PA, 1972.